Saints’ Banks happy to return after Aberdeen draw

St Johnstone goalkeeper Steve Banks collects the ball ahead of Calvin Zola. Picture: SNS
St Johnstone goalkeeper Steve Banks collects the ball ahead of Calvin Zola. Picture: SNS
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VETERAN St Johnstone goalkeeper Steve Banks said his run of games only makes him hungrier to continue his playing career after he impressing in Saturday’s Pittodrie stalemate.

Referee: S McLean

Attendance: 9,478

The 41-year-old is deputising for the injured Alan Mannus, and was the star of the show as Saints bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing against Dundee United to record a welcome clean sheet. The player-coach said: “I enjoy my football, that’s why I’m still doing it. If I didn’t enjoy it, I’d have given up a long time ago. It’s hard at my age, working and training every day – you get a few aches and pains.

“As long as I can carry on doing what I’ve done today, hopefully I can keep playing. After last week I did wonder whether I should hang my gloves up, but having a run of games has given me an appetite for it. It’s been around five years since I last got a run of games.”

Banks had a hectic afternoon, and made one exceptional save to deny Niall McGinn.

“It was fairly busy,” he added. “It’s good to get a clean sheet after conceding four last week. We wanted to go back to being a side who are hard to beat, and let the attacking boys go and do their thing.

“I think it went really well. We had a few chances first half, though Aberdeen came at us a bit more in the second.”

McGinn felt his side could have won the game given the chances they created, particularly in the second half, but feels the side will be better with the return of Barry Robson and Jonny Hayes from injury after the international break.

Willo Flood is likely to be out for a longer period after suffering a hamstring injury in the League Cup tie against Alloa Athletic, and that meant the Dons were without three key creative midfielders for Saturday’s match.

McGinn said: “It’ll be nice to get some of the more experienced boys back in the squad and help get us going again. I don’t think it’ll be too long until Jonny and Barry are back in. I’m away and have two games for Northern Ireland, but back here the manager will be working the boys hard and getting them ready to rock and roll again.

“It’s looked on as an international break, but it’s important for the players to work hard ready for the next league game.”

Of the match against Saints, the Dons top scorer added: “We definitely improved in the second half, but I don’t think we tested the keeper enough especially after Dundee United scored four goals against them.”